Skanky perfumes in the Age of Febreze

To those who are disgusted by so-called “dirty,” “skanky,” or “animalic” perfumes — and many mainstream folks may never actually have smelled one — it can be utterly baffling that anyone would find them appealing. And this may be more than a trivial difference about individuals’ attraction to particular notes, of the “I like lavender […]

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Beyond “sugar and spice”: The queer side of niche perfume

The world of perfume exhibits some of the most regressive and progressive tendencies when it comes to gender. On the one hand, mainstream designer offerings are typically rigidly segregated by gender with “women’s releases” constituting a vomitus of pink fruity florals in shapely bottles and men’s offerings focused on synthetic woods, ambers and leathers in […]

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Vicarious living through Comme des Garçons: Exoticism and cultural appropriation

When I finally got around to reading the first book in the historical mystery series featuring amateur Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, I was struck by its overtly imperialist aesthetic. Set in the late 19th century, it parodies and celebrates English archeologists. It also patronizes the local people at every turn. For the White Western reader, it […]

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